LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL! Nope! I’m not French – just from Louisiana and you know what today is don’t you? It’s Mardi Gras of course!
I remember the first Mardi Gras I attended. I was about eight or nine years old and we had just recently arrived back in Louisiana from Alaska. I seriously doubt we had gone to any Mardi Gras celebrations there. Those floats would have had to had snow skis attached and beads would have been frozen in midair. And the baring of breasts? Not going to happen in Alaska!
Heck, I had never heard of a king cake. You know – the cake with the little plastic baby the size of your pinky finger hidden inside? You don’t want to bite down on that in your forkful. Aside from maybe breaking a tooth you are required to provide the cake for next years celebration.
Getting back to my first encounter with Mardi Gras I’ll let you know – I don’t think I was very impressed. My favorite aunt – Aunt Letaine – decided these poor little bedraggled Alaskan homesteaders needed some culture. So off we zipped to New Orleans to get it. Besides myself there were my two older sisters, Naomi and Debbie and my younger cousin, Tara. That made four to Aunt Letains one, but she took it in stride being the traveler she was and loved every minute of it. Maybe not every minute. She never let on though.
Oh, we traveled in style making the four hour trip in her husbands new Cadillac. Now Uncle Rigsby loved his cars and was always upgrading as soon as something new came on the market. We were slip-sliding on seats of the very best leather for I don’t remember being restrained by a seat belt at that time. It was practically unheard of in the early 60’s to ‘buckle up’.
And the windows! They were electric. I of course had never seen an electric window. We didn’t have any of those in that Alaskan wilderness. A few hours into the trip – in fact we were almost there – Tara and I had a dueling fight over the window. She was about four or five and was determined she was going to have control of that window. And she was a bit spoiled. You didn’t want to cross her. Even she will admit to that now. 🙂 I was sitting next to the window and having none of that from her this time. I was older and intended to hold my own in this battle. In the course of our squabble she pressed down hard on that up button before I had time to snatch my finger from its jaws!
I remember screeching Bloody Murder as loud as I could and Aunt Letain whips her head around to the back seat with that glare she was good at scaring us with. Of course Tara insists she had nothing to do with it and I insist she did. With the promise of a bandaid a few miles up the road I lean back into my corner whimpering like a whipped pup and Tara settles herself into the middle spot on the back seat. I don’t know why she was sitting back there anyway because she usually rode shotgun in the front seat of honor!
That last half hour of the trip I fretted about my finger. Don’t think Aunt Letain wasn’t caring because she didn’t apply the brakes and pull off the side of the road immediately. She knew very well that it wasn’t a major accident and the window had only caught the fleshy part of my finger. It wasn’t broken, but there was blood and to me that was major. You would have thought there would be a bandaid in that car with Uncle Rigsby being a doctor, but that wasn’t the case.
When we arrived in New Orleans and pulled up to the Roosevelt Hotel and left the car to be parked Aunt Letain hustled us to the front desk and inquired about a bandaid before even checking us in. A few minutes later I was a happy camper. Isn’t it amazing what a bandaid can do for kids? I do still have a scar on my finger from that little accident though. ;(
Now that I think about it I don’t remember much about my first Mardi Gras parade. A few floats making their way down the street in front of the hotel and maybe a handful of beads. I don’t think it was as wild back then as it is these days.
I do remember the grand Roosevelt Hotel and going to the Blue Room to watch the Andrews sisters perform and having my first Shirley Temple. It wasn’t the performance I remember, but the fact that they were famous and I had a front row seat with a drink in front of me! Wouldn’t my classmates be jealous?
That was my first Mardi Gras parade and was very low key compared to my last. Maybe I’ll tell you that story one day!
!!!!!!!LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!!!!!!!